The Jiloca basin is a large intramontane, NNW–SSE-trending topographical depression in which the relative role of tectonic subsidence and erosional lowering is currently a matter of discussion. Geometry and facies of the sedimentary infill at its central sector have now been characterized from compiled borehole data, which allows discussions of how the evolutionary model is constrained. The central Jiloca depression contains a Late Pliocene to Pleistocene sedimentary sequence made up of alluvial fan, pediment mantle and episodic palustrine deposits, overlying a carbonate unit that could represent an early lacustrine stage of Late Miocene–Early Pliocene age. The geometry of these units is partially controlled by NW–SE-striking normal faults. Both the morphological depression and the sedimentary basin truncate previous folds, whose traces beneath the Neogene–Quaternary infill have been interpreted from the geology of the basin margins, borehole data and hydrogeological criteria. The northern and southern sectors of the Jiloca depression are bounded by faults showing measurable hectometric-scale throws (Calamocha and Concud faults). Moreover, in the central sector, the ~ 350–400 m tectonic uplift of Sierra Palomera has been interpreted from a morphostructural reconstruction of the tilted block which separates the Teruel and Jiloca graben, being similar to the height of the Sierra Palomera mountain front. All these features are consistent with a tectonic basin developed within the framework of the Neogene–Quaternary extensional evolution of eastern Spain. In contrast, they are hardly compatible with genetic models based on erosional deepening, either topographic lowering by numerous nested Tertiary erosion pediplains, or sub-alluvial Pliocene–Quaternary karstic corrosion.